Recovery

transformation looks different for everyone.

The most VULNERABLE photo I have shared to date.

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The picture on the left was taken 3 years ago. 
The picture on the right was taken about a month ago. 

Let me tell you a little about Melissa on the left: 
🔸️She had a great job, beautiful home, loving family and friends.
🔸️She had motivation, drive and a strong work ethic.
🔸️She enjoyed food, parties and living life to the fullest.
🔸️She invested in her personal development and pursued her dreams.
🔸️She lived for inspiring others and sharing her talents with the world. 

Let me tell you a little about Melissa on the right:

🔸️She has a great job, beautiful home, loving family and friends.
🔸️She has motivation, drive and a strong work ethic.
🔸️She enjoys food, parties and living life to the fullest.
🔸️She invests in her personal development and pursues her dreams.
🔸️She lives for inspiring others and sharing her talents with the world.


🔷️She BELIEVES in herself and takes ACTION towards what she wants in life. 

Same woman. Different beliefs. 

This post is not meant to be about the drastic physical change over the past couple years. This post is about what has shifted internally. 
Over the past couple years, I have TRANSFORMED my mindset in order to restore my relationship with food, find healthy intentions around my workouts, and live my life with confidence and a DILLIGAF attitude. 

We all have our battles, and they are a lot more alike than we may realize. We spend WAY too much time focusing on things that shouldn’t matter to gauge our progress (the number on the scale, the number of calories we ate/burned). In order to make any lasting change in our life, we need to first look at what is going on INSIDE!

Focus your attention more on how you are FEELING or the quality of your THOUGHTS. If you notice negativity, it’s time to make room for an attitude readjustment. 

Overcoming any hardship is NOT an easy feat. It takes time, discipline, sweat and tears. However, I seriously believe if your priorities are aligned and you are ready to do the work you can get through it. If I can do it, so can you!
If you feel lost on where to get started, I'm here for you.

Instant Stress & Anxiety Relief

STRESS & ANXIETY

Loaded words for sure.

I don't care who you are or what you do for a living, these things affect us all at some point in our lives.

Right now, I am experiencing BOTH of them.

In the past I had my "vices" that I would use to cope with these emotions, that were not always in my best interest.

Rather than boring you with the details, I want to share my GO-TO healthy technique that I use to calm me down when these feelings/conditions arise in my life.

The 478 breathing technique was introduced to me by my coach last year, and it has been a LIFE SAVER!

Deep breathing has COUNTLESS benefits including stress reduction, increased focus and improved sleep. This practice is simple, discreet and has a natural calming effect on the nervous system.

Set Up:

If time and space permits, the following exercise is best done when you are able to sit and relax in a quiet place, but it can be done ANYWHERE!

  • Sit upright with a straight back.
  • Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, allowing it to be audible (don’t be shy).
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely out of your mouth, giving it sound to a count of eight.
  • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Note: always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The amount of time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is what matters. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three steps. With practice you can slow it all down and get used breathing more deeply.

Source: Dr. Weil.com

 

For more mindfulness practices, check out my MEDITATION BUNDLE

 

 

 

 

my "ah-ha" moment.

This was the quote that sent me to treatment.

Two years ago around this time, I was sitting in my therapist’s office.

I had hit a LOW point in my life.

Externally, things were great.

Beautiful home, AMAZING boyfriend, great job, wonderful friends and family… and I can’t forget two crazy loving fur babies Dack & Dexter.

Inside I was a mess.

I was so caught up in my restrictive eating and my anxiety was unbearable.

I constantly thought about food and working out… no joke… it was CONSTANT.

My life had become so rigid with my patterns and habits I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Deep down, I KNEW I was strong enough to overcome my struggles. But for TOO long (roughly 10 years) I had let the negative influence - my eating disorder - control my life.

I needed to do something DIFFERENT if I was EVER going to be free.

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep being what you’ve always been.” My therapist said to me, as I sat in the big arm chair across the room.

So at that point, I made the scariest, but bravest decision I have made.

Two years ago, I made the decision to leave my home, my love, my dogs, my family and friends, my job, etc. to do something DIFFERENT to get my life back.

I left my comfort zone, bought a one way plane ticket and moved across the country to get help.

I had no idea what to expect or when I would be coming home.

All I knew was that I was “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and I was ready to channel my inner bad ass and do something that scared the crap out of me.

My ego was telling me I was weak... I was a loser... I couldn’t change. I was embarrassed to tell my family, my boss, my friends what I was doing.

But regardless of how weak/scared/embarrassed I felt, I had to do it… and I did.

(This story is "to be continued"...)

The point of this message, is YOU ARE WORTH IT.

Regardless of what you are working towards in your personal life, no matter how big or how small, you deserve to be HAPPY, HEALTHY & FREE.

I challenge you to think about something in your life you would like to change.

What are you doing to change it? If you continue to go through the motions and stay on the same path, will that lead you to your goals?

Or do you need to do something brave, and step out of your comfort zone a little?

Think about it.

I’m here if you need me

you have to want it.

At this time two years ago, I was sitting at a treatment center in the middle of the desert.

I had been away from home, my family and loved ones for a little over two weeks.

I was terrified but felt a sense of courage, as I was ready to confront my fears and struggles head on.

I have struggled on and off with body image issues, eating disorders and feeling confident in my own skin for YEARS. As I reflect back on the past decade, I cannot help but get emotional about all that I have been through, the lessons I have learned, and the countless people who have been there to support me throughout my journey.

I remember telling myself, that once I found TRUE inner and outer healing and once I could confidently say that I LOVED myself for ME, I would dedicate MY LIFES WORK to helping other people going through the same struggles.

Negative body image, self confidence struggles, and dealing with your nasty inner critic are REAL problems that should not be taken lightly.

I have been through HELL and BACK working to overcome these things for myself.

I have tried and failed at COUNTLESS options before I figured out what would work for me.

Throughout it all, I have learned TWO very important lessons:

  • YOU HAVE TO WANT TO GET BETTER FOR YOU
    • (Nobody else can make that decision for you)
       
  • YOU MUST NEVER GIVE UP
    • (You will get discouraged, you will be uncomfortable, and the process WILL suck at times)

If you are reading this, and saying in your head “THIS IS ME.” I think we should talk <3

Click here to get in touch!

Guest Post: Feeling Empowered in Recovery

Jennifer Kreatsoulas is someone I have been lucky to connect with through the yoga and ED recovery community over the past year. She is the founder of Chime Yoga Therapy, a yoga teacher, writer/editor, mother and a huge inspiration to me.

She recently featured a blog with contributions from women around the United States on “what makes them feel empowered in recovery”.

Below is my contribution for the piece. You can read the full article HERE.

There is nothing easy about recovery. When we finally reach the point of being “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and make the commitment to get well – it becomes our full-time job, and our TOP priority. Although recovery presents numerous challenges, it is important to remember and take note of the little victories that we achieve along the way.

My father used to say to me “win the small battles and you will win the war.” That statement always stuck with me. Each day presents a new set of opportunities to challenge ourselves and detach from our past. When we welcome the challenge and succeed, we gain a sense of accomplishment and empowerment over our struggles.

Here are 3 things that make me feel empowered in my recovery:

  1. Learning to accept myself (and my recovery) in the present moment, and  understanding that although I might not be exactly where I want to be just yet, I am doing everything I need to do to get closer to my goal each day.
  2. Letting go of the need to be perfect, knowing that perfection is a far-fetched and unrealistic goal.
  3. Stepping out of my comfort zone, and breaking away from my routine to challenging old behaviors.

Although these might not seem like much at the time, every step forward in recovery should be viewed as an accomplishment. Celebrating the little victories along the way, and giving ourselves credit for the small accomplishments we make throughout the day, will ultimately give us the fuel and momentum to keep moving forward toward our recovery goals.

It is easy to get comfortable with routine, finding security within the boundaries you build around your life. Yes, each day contains 24 hours, but every single hour presents a unique set of opportunities. Do not try to force-fit into yesterdays mold. Instead, open your eyes to find all that is in front of you in the present moment.

shift your view.

"I am thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength".

My favorite quote, and I use it in many of my posts. It is relevant, relatable and 100% true.

Struggles in life are inevitable. Everyone (whether they admit it or not) goes through challenges to some degree. I have made it known that I have had my share of ups and downs. I am blessed with the fact that the good times (ups) significantly outweigh the bad times (downs). Regardless of how I defined a memory, a situation, or significant moment, I have learned to use each and every one of them as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Over the years I found that I would sometimes float through the good moments without taking the time to pause and reflect. I never acknowledge specifically what happened, what I had accomplished, the work I had to do to get there, etc. I didn’t give myself a "thatta girl" for working hard if I had achieved a specific goal. I didn't always take ample time to think about how lucky I am to share memories with a loving boyfriend, family, or friends. You get the point…

Then when the trials and tribulations came around, they rocked my world and wreaked havoc on my well being. I would get upset, anxious, and let them weigh me down for a decent period of time. Those hard moments came in and I let them blur my vision of my life in its entirety.

Let's face it, humans tend to dwell on the negative.

As I have grown up (yes I know I am only 26), I have learned that challenging situations do not always have to be viewed as bad, or as a personal weakness.

I have been working diligently over the past several months to shift my mindset and change my perception when the difficult moments come into my life. When shitty situations arise, I take a step back, analyze the situation, and then look at myself.

  • What am I making up of this situation?
  • Is what I am making up about this situation true?
  • How can I change my outlook into something more positive?

I know this might sounds a little corny, or maybe a little too "optimistic" but it really works with practice. We need to understand that we can't always change what happens in our lives, but we can change how we choose to look at the situations. Sometimes making a simple attitude change can drastically change our outlook on life.

Instead of beating myself up about the past, or having regrets about ____, I try to see these moments as building blocks that are vital to the structure of my entirety. Building blocks that have built me into who I am today.

I am learning to quit identifying with my past challenges, and letting them define me. Ever since I was little my mom would say "Everything happens for a reason". As cliché as that sounds…. It is true.

All situations, whether they are good, bad, annoying, terrifying, etc. tend to lead us into something better… even something great! We have to come to terms with the fact that life happens to teach us lessons and to push us out of our comfort zones at times. When these lessons come around, try to see them as opportunities rather than burdens. Use this as motivation to make changes and improvements in your life.

Once we stop focusing on the negatives and identifying ourselves with what "went wrong" in our life, we can begin to forgive ourselves and work towards a brighter mindset.

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<3

If you like what you read, please follow and share my blog :)

using a battle for good.

Be the change you wish to see in the world - Mahatma Gandhi

Yoga, dogs, and inspirational ideas to ponder.

Topics I tend to write about with some frequency. There is no doubt that I am passionate about those subjects, and like to express my passions and share them with others through my writing. The articles in my blog are intended to provide hope, motivation, and bring light and hope into a world that can be so dark at times. However, another issue that is extremely close to my heart, doesn't  find its way into my blog posts as often as I would like it to. Because it is a sensitive subject, sometimes I feel like it is better off confined to the private pages of my personal journal. That topic is: Eating Disorder Recovery.

In this post I am allowing myself to be open, honest and vulnerable in order to make a point. If you are close to me, there is a good chance you know my story… or at least parts of it.

I have struggled on and off with disordered eating since I was seventeen years old (junior in high school). The key words there are "ON AND OFF"- I have had long periods of positive progress and recovery, and also periods of unfortunate relapse.

A few general statistics about Eating Disorders:

  • Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.
  • Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment.
    • Only 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders.
    • Up to 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.
    • 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.8.
    • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

Those statistics make me so sad.

This past summer, I finally sought treatment for my ongoing battle. When I finally made the decision to go it blew my mind at how difficult it was to:

  1. Find a treatment center in Michigan (I didn’t)
  2. Find a treatment center that took my insurance (no Michigan centers meant no in-network insurance coverage)
  3. The actual cost of going away to get the treatment I needed (2 months of treatment is close to $100,000)

The fact that it was so difficult to find and afford, adequate care made me SO angry. The whole process was a pain in the ass. I am blessed that I have insurance, and was able to go get the help I needed, but most people are not so lucky. Way too many men and women go untreated, or improperly treated because of the astronomical costs. Therefore they are stuck trying to "fix themselves". Sure this may work in the short-run, but in my experience and my research, the likelihood of relapse is a lot higher.

So yes- I went away to treatment for two months last year. It was the scariest, hardest thing I had to do in my life, but I am glad I went. Although I still had some difficulties upon returning home, it taught me a lot about how strong of a person I am. The support I got from my family, Joe, my friends and coworkers made my time away a little easier as well.

Although I know I still have some work to do…. (But who doesn’t?!) I am writing today from a place where I can honestly say I am feeling the best I have in the past (almost) 10 years.

So why the heck am I going on and on writing about this?

I like to think that I was faced with these challenges to not only test my strength, but prove that I can overcome anything. As I continue to make progress on my personal journey, I have a deep desire to help others and use this battle for good. I want to get more focused on my desire to make an impact on treatment options, yoga therapy, and making these resources not only more available, but also more affordable for people who may be struggling.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a "Yoga and Body Image Intensive" put on by an organization called "Eat Breathe Thrive". This is a non-profit organization which prevents and helps individuals recover from disordered eating and negative body image through yoga and community (I highly recommend you check out their website)!

Over a three-day period, I met an amazing group of people who all share a common interest in Recovery, Community, and making some sort of impact (even if it is just in their own lives). I left the intensive feeling inspired, hopeful and optimistic that I can use my battles for good and to benefit the lives of others. My goal upon completing the separate trainings is to start and run a program in Michigan, and eventually start my own work with helping others overcome their own unique challenges. Since there are currently no programs running in my area, I see this an a perfect opportunity to start something wonderful !

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 Stay Tuned <3

Source for ED Statistics: http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/

a deeper meaning.

Stating the obvious: I Love Yoga. Look around my house, read my blog, talk to anyone who is close to me.... there are signs everywhere that indicate an immense passion for the practice.

There is no denying that yoga is HUGE in America right now. Studios are popping up left and right, more people are becoming aware of its benefits, yoga pants have become an acceptable item of clothing to wear almost everywhere, etc. etc….. its great!

As the practice becomes more mainstream, and continues to grow in popularity, I often like to step back and reflect on how I discovered the practice in the first place. Regardless of what I post on social media, or the pictures of me (and the dogs) in various poses, yoga carries a very deep meaning for me and holds a very strong place in my heart. Going beyond the cute yoga pants, and being ridiculously flexible, there are countless reasons why I love it so much, and more importantly why I am so passionate about sharing my knowledge with others.

My yoga journey began back in 2012 when I was seeking recovery from my battle with an eating disorder. After making positive strides towards my health, I was ready to start exercising again. The RD I was seeing at the time suggested that I give yoga a try, to incorporate some "mindful activity" into my life. (Mind you- growing up I was a competitive athlete: volleyball, soccer, track, etc. so yoga always seemed a bit "mellow" for me.) I was thinking to myself, which I think so many people do before their first class: "I am not flexible, I am not graceful or coordinated, and I have no idea what all that yoga lingo is all about". But I went anyways... and I am glad I did.

I quickly feel in love with the practice.

I believe that yoga has the power to heal and to truly change lives. Yoga has been a crucial part in my life during all of the ups and downs over the past several years. Throughout my recovery, the practice has alleviated so many of the day to day challenges that were associated with such a complicated illness. Not only do I continue to notice physical changes in my strength and flexibility, but also dramatic changes in my emotional and mental wellbeing.  I don’t stress out as easily, I am more present throughout my day, I have more energy, but most importantly, yoga continues to remind me to love and appreciate myself and my body as a whole.

Today, the practice continues to keep me grounded, give me confidence, and allows me to let go of doubts and insecurities I have about myself. I believe that yoga is a personal practice that provides endless opportunities to grow and learn. It reminds me to trust that everything is happening exactly as it should- and be PATIENT with the PROCESS. <3

As I continue my journey as a teacher, and I student, I hope to use my personal story and experiences (on and off the mat) to inspire others. If you want to practice with me, click here to see my current teaching schedule!

Do you practice  yoga? Share your experiences with me in the comments below :)

The "FOUR A's"

 

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” - Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay

New Years Resolutions are a big deal to some people. To be honest with you… I think they are dumb. Sure, the New Year can bring fresh opportunities to grow, change and better yourself as a person… but so can the beginning of a New Day. Why wait for a new calendar year to work towards something that you want? Every morning we have a choice on the attitude we will carry, and the actions we will take.

As always, I was doing a lot of thinking about changes that need to be made in my life. Some are easy fixes, and some are rather daunting to think about. Nonetheless, they are things that I really want (and need) to focus on starting today.

While journaling a couple weeks ago, this idea of "FOUR A's" came to me (out of nowhere): 4As

Admit: To yourself, and others that there is something in your life that you want to change. It may be a struggle or difficulty you are facing, a problem you are looking to overcome, or even an indulgence or addiction. Whatever it may be, let go of the denial and face your challenge.

Acknowledge: The factors that are playing into that "something". Are the factors internal, external, or maybe both? Whatever they may be, recognize and confront them with a strong mindset. You may not like what you uncover, but that is why you are confronting them in the first place!

Accept: That a REAL change needs to be made for the benefit of your well being, and that change needs to start RIGHT NOW! Not tomorrow, not next week, month, decade... RIGHT NOW! Accept that it might be difficult and uncomfortable… but it will be worth it in the long run.

Action: TAKE ACTION! Make a realistic plan and stick to it! How are you going to work towards becoming your BEST self? Do you have friends, family or other resources you can utilize? Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help along the way!

I'd like to think that these four simple words can serve as a tool to anyone who is looking to make changes- big or small- in their life. If you agree, I sincerely hope you take in the message, and USE IT however you see fit!

I'd love to hear how it works into your life <3

Pursuing a Dream

Life has been good great lately. Sure, I have has some emotional trials over the past few months, but lately things really seem to be falling into place.

I have always been a person to encourage others to follow their heart and pursue their dreams. This time around, I am going to follow a dream of mine... enhancing my yoga practice.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have become very passionate about the practice over the past few years.

It has played a beneficial role in my recovery from my... struggles, and continues to be a huge part of my daily life.

I am attending Yoga Lifestyle and Teacher Training at the Red Lotus Yoga Studio in Rochester Hills. One of the application requirements was to submit an essay to give the instructor an idea of who I am and why we want to participate in the program.

I wanted to share mine here :)  *Note: some of the content was taken from previous blog entries*

I see my life as a journey. A journey towards health, genuine happiness and living each day to my fullest potential. In life, difficulties are inevitable. Like most people,  I have had my fair share of ups and downs. Although no one likes to admit weaknesses, I believe that acknowledging and committing to overcome personal hardships shows strength and courage.

I started writing my essay with the intention of being discrete about how my passion for yoga truly came to be. Initially, I was going to wait to open up and share my story. However, as I read the words over and over again, I realized that I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. One of my favorite quotes I recently came across, speaks to me on so many levels. It reads, "I am thankful for my struggle, because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength".

Over the years, I have struggled on and off with disordered eating and over exercising. I have worked with some amazing people, and it goes without saying that I would not be where I am today if it were not for their patience and support. As valuable as those people were to my recovery, I believe that my journey back to health and happiness was strongly impacted by something in addition to them… yoga.

In the midst of my difficulties, I was looking for a way to reconnect with myself and find serenity in my life. That was when I was reacquainted with yoga. I practiced occasionally in the past, but it was not until 2012 that I experienced its power for the first time. After a few consistent sessions with an influential teacher, yoga became so much more to me than just a form of exercise and stress relief. I quickly fell in love with the practice and its countless benefits.

Yoga gave me a new and different perspective on many things. When I began practicing, I was introduced to a sense of awareness between my mind, body and spirit that I had never experienced before. This valuable introduction (which was long overdue) not only made me more mindful, but also helped me get a better understanding of what I want out of my life.

Practicing yoga makes me appreciate being in the present moment, and continues to teach me the value of patience and persistence. I have learned that discomfort, both on and off the mat, is temporary if you seek your edge and do not give up.  Although it is not always easy, being mindful has helped me to use my past difficulties as learning experiences and opportunities to grow. Yoga has given me a new sense of assurance in myself, both physically and mentally. This confidence pushes me every day to be the strongest version of myself possible.

Yoga has become a part of my regular routine and is now a huge part of my life. When I learned about the opportunity to take my practice to a new and higher level through the Red Lotus Yoga Lifestyle and Teacher Training program, I felt called to do so. I am ready to advance my own practice and understanding of the yoga lifestyle, and further incorporate it into my daily life.

Vulnerability opens the door to compassion and supportiveness between people. My most influential teachers have been those who are not afraid to open up, show their own vulnerability and share their experiences with their students. Everyone has a story, and there is something beautiful about embracing that. My ultimate goal upon completing this program is to introduce the life-changing benefits of the yoga practice with people by teaching my own classes. I want to share my experiences, in hopes of inspiring and helping others who may have gone through similar struggles as myself. I have found yoga to be one of the best things that I can do for my mind, body and overall wellbeing, and it would be an honor to be able to share that.

 

Om

 Namaste

Here we go again...

I feel a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach, after some of the conversations that I have had over the past couple weeks.

I have been confronted a few times from my family and others, about my appearance, and concern with my health. As much as I know they care, and have good intentions with these “talks” sometimes I feel that more harm than good is done for me emotionally. Don’t get me wrong, I see and understand the concerns… but I don’t think it is always realized the impact that these words and confrontations can have on me.

I am an emotional person. I dwell on things, and let them linger and really bother me. Writing is a nice outlet for me, but it still does not resolve the fact that my feelings were hurt and I cant seem to let it go. What makes it difficult, is when I can be having a perfectly happy day, and one little comment of conversation puts a HUGE damper on everything. I can’t pretend to brush it off and smile all the time.

It is time for me to be honest with myself.

In 2012, I sought treatment for my struggles after I hit “rock bottom”. This time around, I refuse to let myself get there. Yes, I have been through a lot of life changes over the past several months, but that does not give me good reason to stop taking care of myself.

I have so much to be thankful for…. I have a new home, an amazing boyfriend (who I see a beautiful future with), a loving family, wonderful friends, strong faith, etc. etc. I feel like these blessings have been hindered by some of the hardships that I have been facing.

I am happy with my life. Yes, I may have slipped, but things have settled down and I have been making a conscious effort to enjoy each and every day.

CURRENT SITUATION:
In all honesty, I do not have the same thoughts and struggles towards food that I have had in the past. Yes, I maintain a healthy diet, but I am not afraid to splurge and treat myself once in awhile when the opportunity presents itself. I still have some hesitation when it comes to random snacking (which is crazy, because everyone should allow themselves the opportunity to enjoy a good snack).

I think now, the main thing that I worry about is exercise. I feel like I need to do something physical every day, and when I don’t exercise, I get somewhat anxious. I have been trying to spend less time going to the gym to lift weights, and more time enjoying yoga (Not go on off topic, but yoga has helped me so much throughout all of this…more on that topic later), walking my puppies to the park, or just enjoying a different hobby. What I want, is to find a healthy balance in my life. I would love to focus my time on yoga and meditation, and finding harmony between my mind and body.

Admitting a weakness is hard for me. But seeing the people I love and care about worry (about me), is even harder. I don’t like feeling vulnerable to this. Every single thing in my life is so wonderful, and it sickens me that I still have to think about this at times. I swore to myself a year ago that I would never go back to the place where I was in my past… I am not there, but I need to really work on keeping myself away (FAR AWAY) from there too.

I am going to reach out to find someone to talk to, outside of my family, friends and social circle. Having a neutral “third party” to vent/talk to has helped me in the past, and I have no doubt that it will help me again.

Let the journey to health and happiness continue...

<3

You are where you are or ever will be is up to you. You are where you are today because that is where you have chosen to be. You are always free to choose your actions, or inactions, and your life today is the sum total of your choices, good and bad. If you want your future to be different, you have to make better choices.
—Brian Tracy

 

Stop Blaming the Media for Our Body Image Issues

Stop Blaming the Media for Our Body Image Issues

I came across this interesting article from Huffington Post Women. The article argues that as a society, we need to stop blaming the media for our body image issues and focus instead on providing positive role models to girls.

I am interested in your thought's on this!

20 Ways to LOVE Your Body!

Happy 2014! A new year brings new experiences and new opportunities. Regardless of your past, and what you may have been through, allow yourself the chance to make some changes in your life.

I found this list "TWENTY WAYS TO LOVE YOUR BODY", and thought that it was a great reminder of how important it is to take care of yourself... both physically and emotionally. I highly recommend going through these twenty points, and asking yourself what you are going to do to be the healthiest, happiest person that you can be!

WriteYourStory

Twenty Ways To Love Your Body

  1. Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams.  Honor it.  Respect it.  Fuel it.
  2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do.  Read it and add to it often.
  3. Become aware of what your body can do each day.  Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament.
  4. Create a list of people you admire:  people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world.  Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.
  5. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.
  6. Don’t let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy.
  7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like, that express your personal style, and that feel good to your body.
  8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes.
  9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body and appearance.  Try one!
  10. Be your body’s friend and supporter, not its enemy.
  11. Consider this:  your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months.  Your body is extraordinary—begin to respect and appreciate it.
  12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day.
  13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you to do throughout the day.
  14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Don’t exercise to lose weight or to fight your body. Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good.  Exercise for the Three F’s: Fun, Fitness, and Friendship.
  15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body.  Loving your body means you get to feel like that again, even in this body, at this age.
  16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself—without mentioning your appearance.  Add to it daily!
  17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, “I’m beautiful inside and out.”
  18. Search for the beauty in the world and in yourself.
  19. Consider that, “Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way.”
  20. Eat when you are hungry.  Rest when you are tired.  Surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength and beauty.

Compiled By: Margo Maine, PhD
Source: NEDA Website

Focus, Focus, Refocus!

Let me just start by saying that the past several months have been crazy! Crazy busy, crazy fun and at times, crazy stressful (I can provide details in a different post)!

As exciting as the craziness of life can be, it also can cause some anxiety. When things are going at such a fast pace, and you put so much energy towards one thing, it is easy to lose focus on other important priorities...

I have found that distractions are an "easy in" for ED to try to creep back into your life. I would be lying if I said that there were a few times over the past couple weeks when I sensed ED trying to make an appearance in my life. I sensed an  attempt to get back to dictating my thoughts and controlling my actions.

It has been over a year and a half since I sought help for struggles. Prior to my recovery, I would have given in to the temptation to listen to the negative influences. I would have "thrown in the towel" and let ED take control. However today, that is no longer an option.

I wrote this journal entry last year, and have yet to post it on my blog. However I feel that it is appropriate for this topic:

Denial and Sickness: Uninvited Guest

One of the most difficult things to do when dealing with a struggle or hardship to admit that there is something wrong. So often, the distorted voice is convincing you that you are ok, that things are supposed to be the way they are… miserable, lonely, unhealthy, etc.

It does not matter how family, friends and other loved ones see you. You see yourself the way the sickness wants you to be seen, and there is nothing that anyone can do for you. Until you are ready to change.

I was sick for about five and half years. Numerous times over the course of my sickness, people would express concern. The thing that is difficult to comprehend, is why it is so hard to understand  their concerns? I was so used to listening to the unhealthy influence, that the opinions of the truly important people in my life did not matter. I was ok with the life I was living.

People know me as  smart, hard-working, honest, faithful, etc. I never lost those qualities throughout my struggles, however I also carried a few additional labels: skinny, isolated, sad.

Eating disorders can quickly brainwash you. I gave in to the temptation to let ED in, and accepted the additional labels that were associated with it. I have always been a very responsible and independent person- often said to be "mature beyond my years". I have never been one to give in to peer pressure. I have strong values taught to me by my family. I respect those value and lived by them every day. Because I was not a follower, I still to this day cannot explain why I let ED in. Why would I let such a negative influence into my life? I didn’t just let ED in, it let IT control my life, for years.

Those are questions I ask myself quite often. I have a good head on my shoulders, and use sound judgment when making decisions. That’s the thing though, I didn’t know who I was really letting in.

One of the most important things I have learned over the course of my recovery journey… is to never be too proud or too afraid to ask for help. Tuesday I admitted to myself and my support team that I may have been a bit too "distracted" over the past couple months, unintentionally of course, and may have gone off course a little bit.

Being able to admit that I had a little "slip" is the first step. I have all of the resources I need to refocused and get back on track... I just need to sit back, analyze my situation and get back to work.

I am at such an exciting point in my life right now, the last thing I need is ED raining on my good times.

Let's get to work!

setbackcomeback

P.S. I would like to clarify that my slip was VERY minor. It was more of a wakeup call to not disregard what I have been working so hard to obtain throughout recovery.

Yoga and Recovery.

"There are a lot of positives that come out of recovery. Once you reconnect with your body and your own thoughts, everything around you begins to feel right again." I have mentioned the significance of my amazing support team, throughout the ups and downs of my recovery. It goes without saying, that I would not be where I am today if it weren't for them and their patience. As valuable as my team was to me, I strongly believe that my journey back to health was also strongly impacted by something in addition to them...

Initially, during weight restoration, I was very limited in regards to the amount of physical activity I was allowed to do --Which was very frustrating considering the fact that I am an active person who loves fitness and being on the go. *Disclaimer: one thing I did not give up was my morning walks with Riley. Those walks were therapeutic for me, and good for her!

About three months into a positive weight gaining trend, my dietitian and I began discussing ways to incorporate healthy activity back in to my life. As much as I would have loved to go for runs, or hit the gym a few times a week, it was important to start gradually, and then incorporate more activity as I continued to progress in my recovery. We both agreed that yoga would be a good place to start.

yogaStudies show that meditation and deep breathing (relaxation) can reduce stress and enhance wellness in people's lives.

I quickly fell in love with the practice. Not only did it relax my chaotic thoughts, it also introduced a sense of awareness between my mind and my body. It gave me the opportunity to focus on my breathing and concentrate on the slow, structured movements of my body. Being present in the moment gave keen awareness to how I felt right then and there. Every time I would get on to the mat, I made sure that the time was dedicated to me, and only me.

Finding a [new] passion for practicing yoga introduced me to the importance of a strong mind/body relationship. It taught me the value of patience and persistence, and how most discomfort is temporary, if you do not give up.  After several months of practice, I noticed increased strength in my muscles and overall stamina. I also noticed that the poses I initially struggled with became easier.

Yoga has become part of my life. I continue to practice regularly, by attending classes and practicing at home. I plan to continue learning more about the practice, in hopes of some day being able to teach my own classes. I have found Yoga to be one of the best things I can do for my mind, my body and my overall well-being.

Namaste.